Over the years I’ve become accustomed to doing things on my own. The most notable in the forefront of my mind being Christmas Eve two years ago: After curling my hair, donning red lipstick, heels, and a dress for our Christmas Eve service at church I got halfway down the road and realized both my headlight bulbs were blown. Not only did I miss church that I had tirelessly prepared for, but also stood in the middle of the Walmart parking lot using my phone as a flashlight and figured out how to change out my headlight bulbs on my own.
The list of “milestones” I’ve experienced solo beyond that incident would be exhausting to count, but includes the likes of buying a car on my own, applying for loans on my own, and going on my first flight ever on my own (also to a foreign country, might I add, without a phone or any real bearings). I’ve made large purchases, traveled to foreign lands, and attended many corporate functions without someone by my side to lean on in times of indecision or uncertainty. I’m the poster child for “alone.”
Truth be told, it doesn’t always suck. It can be frustrating at times – when I should have someone to call for some mechanical issue (or light bulb problem) or when I need to move furniture. But in reality, it’s made me hike up my britches and get on with life, to use a very colloquial phrase. Life is too worth living to sit around waiting for someone to walk it with you. Though we live in a patriarchal society that prides itself on marriage and family, my purpose does not wholly depend on the presence of another human being by my side.
I say none of this in the vein of bashing marriage or unity of any sort, but quite the contrary. I think marriage is a beautiful thing – to find someone you love the best and worst of, who loves you just the same, so much so that you desire to bind yourself to that person for the rest of your lives is a rare and monumental thing. There are over 3 billion people on the earth and one person manages to find one other person with which they desire to spend all of their sleeping and waking moments. Love is one of those things I don’t think we’ll ever quite understand. It is deeper, wider, and much more expansive than we could ever anticipate explaining. It is beyond us.
2017 has been such a fun year. I started off working a million twelve hour days in a new position I grew to love. This particular work environment comes with its share of challenges and problems to solve with no day ever a duplicate of another. It is a level of organized chaos that I enjoy more than even I can comprehend by combining stability and instability in a sort of vacuum. Some things are always the same, but many aspects of this position are new and different each day, no matter what. There are enough variables that work is never static. And this altogether excludes the people I work alongside, who in and of themselves provide the best entertainment and challenges.
It almost seems silly to reminisce on days when I could only hope to escape Rome because I can’t imagine being anywhere else now. I don’t negate that somewhere deep down I will always love and cherish and be challenged by international cultures and lifestyles and, perhaps, one day end up on a far off adventure, but for now this is home.
I know people who have been married for decades that still feel alone, still feel isolated, still don’t know what it means to be loved. The privilege I’ve had to experience so much in life, especially the experiences I’ve had, have shown me that life is never truly lived alone.
Here is where I write some cliche about how people have always been around when I needed them and how God showed up in some magical way in the middle of my most alone time. These things are true. I could write you a novel on the number of people who have helped me so much, but I won’t.
What I really want to tell you is this: when you see the world with open eyes, it’s impossible to feel alone. Somehow life always lines up.
📷 Cameron Flaisch